Raw Milk Sales Still Illegal in Montana

For a short moment, raw milk advocates in Montana thought they might have a chance at legally obtaining it from local producers. Sadly, this optimism was short lived, as the Montana State Senate rejected a bill that would have allowed owners of small herds of cows, goats or sheep to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products directly to consumers.

The Senate had a lengthy and heated debate about whether the heart of this issue came down to personal freedom or protecting public health. Eventually, the Senate deadlocked in a tie vote 25-25 and then voted to indefinitely postpone the bill. A later vote to revive the measure failed 23-25. Read more about the Montana raw milk debate here.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Highlights from an Interview with David Gumpert

Book Cover black frameIn mid-April, raw milk activist and author David Gumpert gave an interview to the Mountain Xpress in advance of a presentation and book signing about raw milk and our food system. Gumpert recently finished a successful crowdfunding campaign for a new book, The Raw Milk Answer Book.

In the interview, Gumpert discusses how he got interested in raw milk in the first place, as well as offering his opinion about why there is such much hostility towards raw milk today: “I think there are two reasons. One is historical. We did have a serious problem with raw dairy back in the 1800s and early 1900s…The diseases then were much more dangerous and often fatal – things like typhoid and tuberculosis. The diseases you can get from raw milk today are the diseases you can get from any other food…The second reason is economic.”

He also shared tips for people who want to find safe sources of raw milk and whether he thinks raw milk will be more or less accepted in the future. Read more via Mountain Xpress.

David Gumpert’s new book The Raw Milk Answer Book is now available! Support @westonaprice by buying it with this affiliate link.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Judge Rejects Final Approval of Dean Foods Settlement

In July 2014, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and its marketing branch Dairy Marketing Services (DMS) settled a five-year class-action lawsuit that alleged the organizations conspired with Dean Foods to manipulate unpasteurized milk prices in the Northeast, forcing farmers to join DFA or market through DMS. As part of the settlement, DFA and DMS agreed to pay $50 million to farmers affected by their manipulation.

However, a federal judge has denied final approval of the settlement, which would have worked out to an average of $4,000 paid to each of the more than 7,000 dairy farmers, in part due to the dismayed reactions of dairy farmers to the settlement. The judge said, “the financial compensation of approximately $4,000 per dairy farm was characterized as ‘functionally irrelevant,’ as it reflects the cost of one ‘tractor tire.’” (Burlington Free Press).

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Maine Raw Milk Bill Changes Still in Committee

A Maine bill that would allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers on the farm without a license is undergoing changes in committee before going to the House of Representatives for a vote.

Representative William Noon, who sponsored the bill, said that the bill needs to be refined in the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, but did not say when he expected the bill to go to vote. This is one of several food freedom bills the Maine State Legislature is considering in 2015.

Maine dairy farmers are divided on these bills, and not all of them believe that producers should be allowed to sell raw milk to consumers without a license. Read about some of the clashing perspectives via Concord Monitor.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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NPR Analyzes Why Some States Want to Legalize Raw Milk

In a recent article, NPR analyzes why, despite the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association strongly advising against the consumption of raw milk, more and more states are legalizing its sale.

According to NPR, raw milk “…has become popular in recent years as part of the local food movement: an estimated 3% of the population drinks at least one glass a week.”

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s (NASDA) most recent raw milk survey, conducted in 2011, shows that 30 states have legalized the sales of raw milk in some form. The CDC believes the widening of legalization corresponds with an increase in raw milk-related illnesses.

Bob Ehart, senior policy and science adviser at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, points out that legalizing raw milk doesn’t necessarily condone it. Rather, “…legalization may give public health agencies the power to regulate a market that might otherwise exist underground” (see NPR Blog “The Salt”).

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Will Oregon Allow for the Advertising of Raw Milk?

In 2014, the state of Oregon agreed not to enforce a ban on advertising the sale of raw milk, although the advertising itself remained illegal.

Now, the Oregon House committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources is considering a bill that would allow producers to market raw milk directly to consumers. The chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, Representative Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie), is in support of House Bill 2446 and has said he would like it to move through as quickly as possible.

This issue revolves around not only food freedom, but also freedom of speech. In 2013, the Virginia-based Institute for Justice filed a free speech lawsuit on behalf of one Oregon milk producer, “…contending that the state was violating the right of Oregon farmers to speak about a legal product” (see The Register-Guard).

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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South Dakota Governor Signs Raw Milk Bill

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed Senate Bill 45, which will make raw milk and raw cream a legal product regulated by the state, just like grade A milk.

This bill is a result of the efforts of a Raw Milk Work Group that was formed in February 2014 on recommendation by the South Dakota Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

Gena Parkhurst, one of the work group members and a raw milk consumer, says, “I am happy with the compromises and the way that it worked out. Everybody who was involved in the raw milk work group made some kind of a compromise so it felt like there was a fair balance of give and take.”

She says the next step is to outline the rules and regulations that will apply to raw milk and raw cream sales, hinting that there might be an education program involved, and that group members will gather their thoughts and move forward in the process.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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West Virginia Governor Vetoes Raw Milk Bill

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin vetoed a bill that would have allowed consumers access to raw milk through herdshare agreements, which the state Senate had earlier approved.

Governor Tomblin’s veto message used the tired argument that allowing people to drink raw milk “would pose a serious risk to public health.” West Virginia House Delegate Kelli Sobonya (R – Cabell) called the veto shortsighted, preventing West Virginia from “…joining a majority of other states who support farm food freedom.”

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Raw Milk Gains Legislative Support in Maine

Raw milk advocates in Maine began 2015 optimistic about getting several food freedom passed by the Maine legislature, three of which would legalize the sales of raw milk in some form.

They have reason to remain optimistic, as in early March some officials from the Maine Department of Agriculture said they support easing licensing requirements for some dairy farmers who sell raw milk directly to consumers.

The Maine State Legislature is considering two bills that would do just that. LD 229 would allow dairy farms producing less than 20 gallons of raw milk per day to sell it at their farm or farmers market without state licensing or inspections. LD 312 would exempt farms from state licensing or inspections only if the raw milk is sold directly to consumers at the farm, though farmers would need to pass a dairy sanitation course and would not be able to advertise raw milk.

Read more about who testified in support of which bill, and how each bill would affect Maine dairy farmers via the Portland Press Herald.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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Evaluating the Risk of Raw Milk

Many raw milk advocates are clear in their belief that consumption of raw milk should be a personal choice – they don’t force others to drink raw milk but people shouldn’t force them to abstain from drinking raw milk either.

A thoughtful and well-written piece titled, “The Risk of Raw Milk,” discusses the risk of consuming unpasteurized dairy in systematic terms, including these first two:

  1. Risk Belongs to the Risk Taker: Assuming that there is a risk to drinking raw milk, the author asks, “Who are you to tell me that it is an unnecessary risk for me?  Should I tell you that eating the processed food in your cupboard is an unnecessary risk for you? Well, I am going to tell you that…but I am not going to make it law.”
  2. All Options Carry Risk in Some Form: Assuming that there is a risk to drinking raw milk, how are we to make the assumption that there is not also a risk to drinking industrialized, chemical-laden pasteurized milk? The FDA’s recall list also includes pasteurized dairy products and even apples. “In our modern food system, consider everything a risk,” the author writes.

Read additional arguments about the risk of raw milk here.

Realmilk.com is a consumer education project of the Weston A. Price Foundation, a nutrition education nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Visit their website, westonaprice.org.

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